THE revelation that the deaths of seven people and disappearance of an 11-year-old boy in floodwaters were caused by negligence is cause for concern.
A Disaster Management Committee meeting chaired by Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki was told by the Divisional Police Commander Western Salacieli Navilawasa that all deaths resulted from people disregarding advice.
It is a sad reflection of how much some of us value advice and the level of complacency and ignorance of safety rules that exist in our communities.
We realise and acknowledge the impact the deaths may have caused families and friends of the victims.
Some people may see it as unfortunate that the DPC West blamed a lack of general adherence to advice as an attributing cause of death.
But that's just the reality of the situation. It seems some of us are not listening to advice and seem content to test mother-nature. Some families have paid the ultimate price for this wrong decision.
As the DPC West said, this should be a lesson for us all. The statistics should be worrying. They should concern us all.
For if they do not then we are clearly to blame for any mishap.
The adverse weather conditions have seen all our major rivers ù the Sigatoka, Rewa and Ba rivers ù spill over onto flatlands.
Thousands of people have been affected and as reports confirm, seven have died.
It is almost unthinkable that the police have pointed the finger of blame on the victims themselves.
But if this is the case, then so be it. The idea should now be for us to take heed of advice.
It is imperative that basic rules are followed and that we appreciate the fact that when there is trouble, life is never easy for people engaged in the rescue efforts.
The case of the five fishermen who were finally rescued by a police team highlights the dangers associated with rescue work in the middle of a natural disaster.
The police boat was forced to fight strong winds and high seas in the Vatu-i-Ra passage during the rescue effort.
And whether we like it or not, the worst is yet to come.
It is unfortunate that the people of the western division, despite not having recovered yet from the floodwaters of January and now, are forced to bear the brunt of a cyclone hovering close by.
As Daphne transformed into a cyclone from a tropical depression and intensified yesterday, let's do the right thing. Let's use some common sense and take heed of advice.